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Commander Review: Theros Beyond Death | Part 1 | White, Blue


The full card list for Theros: Beyond Death is out, which means it's time for the Commander Review! Here are my favorite new Commander cards from the set and which decks will want them.

I'm doing the review a bit differently this time around. Instead of two articles, I'm breaking it into three so I can spend more time researching the cards and make better reviews while not delaying the start of the articles. I'm also adding a "Most Likely To See Play" sentence at the end as a TLDR of which decks you'd want to run the card in. Please let me know what you think of these tweaks so I can continue to improve!

We start with Part 1: white and blue cards!

 

WHITE

 

Archon of Falling Stars

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Archon of Falling Stars's death trigger is very powerful, putting an enchantment from your graveyard directly on to the battlefield. The rest of the card is rather underwhelming for its cmc and overall not something I'd recommend running if you want to use it in a "fair" way. However, if you're interested in degenerate combos, then the Archon may be worth considering. One easy infinite combo involves bringing back Archon with Animate Dead, then sacrificing it to a repeatable sac outlet like Phyrexian Altar. You can sacrifice Archon to the Altar, which puts the creature and the aura into the graveyard, then use the Archon's death trigger to return Animate Dead back to the battlefield enchanting the Archon again. Repeat this for infinite mana / enter the battlefield triggers / death triggers (Blood Artist).

Basically, Archon of Falling Stars is a weaker backup Boonweaver Giant in Boonweaver Combo decks. But Archon's flexibility may allow it to pop up in other combo decks; putting Omniscience directly into play from your graveyard is pretty sweet!

Most likely to see play in: Daxos the Returned, Karador, Ghost Chieftain

 

Archon of Sun's Grace

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Filthy casuals like myself whose first thought when seeing this card was, "PEGASUS TRIBAL," will be disappointed to find out that there's a mere 14 Pegasus creatures in the game, most of which are terrible in Commander. So while Archon of Sun's Grace is a sweet support card for the tribe, we'll have to continue waiting for more flying horsies before we can cobble together a functioning deck. (Unless you're Richard, of course, and then you just slap these 14 cards together with a True Conviction and you're all but guaranteed victory!)

Jank dreams aside, Archon of Sun's Grace is a fantastic new inclusion in Enchantress decks everywhere, where it's a superior Ajani's Chosen: same cmc, same enchantment etb trigger, but way better creature and tokens! Wowza! I'm a big fan of Ajani's Chosen in Enchantress decks, using it to quickly fill the board with chump blockers and eventually overwhelm opponents with a kitty swarm, but now the kitties have flying and lifelink?! Sign me up!

For filthy degenerates out there: Archon of Sun's Grace makes infinite tokens with Enchanted Evening. Evening (or any other enchantment) entering the battlefield triggers Archon, which makes a pegasus enchantment token, which triggers Archon and makes another enchantment token, yadayada. Note that the token trigger is not optional, so you'll be stuck making infinite tokens with no way to stop, so you need instant speed removal for either Evening or the Archon or else the game ends in a draw.

Most likely to see play in: Tuvasa the Sunlit, Estrid, the Masked, Kestia, the Cultivator, Daxos the Returned, Sram, Senior Edificer, literally any Enchantress deck.

 

Dawn Evangel

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Dawn Evangel has a very niche ability, but in a deck running tons of auras and creatures with 2cmc or less, it's quite a respectable recursion engine. This is a strong inclusion in certain Aura decks that run a bunch of cheap utility creatures like Kor Spiritdancer and Hero of Iroas. You can use Evangel as an extra layer of resiliency in case your enchanted creatures die, or you can be proactive in triggering the ability by killing your opponents' creatures with aura removal like Mire's Grasp. Some auras, like Rancor, even return themselves in the process, so you lose even less!

I'm definitely going to try out Dawn Evangel in my Sram, Senior Edificer deck, since the Evangel can always get back Sram in case the enchanted commander ever dies. You can read my primer on Sram here! I'm also interested in trying out Evangel in Daxos the Returned, where we have access to black aura removal (Inevitable End) and can even work in a Sacrifice subtheme with recursive auras like Gift of Immortality.

Most likely to see play in: Sram, Senior Edificer, Daxos the Returned, Kestia, the Cultivator.

 

Daxos, Blessed by the Sun

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

New Daxos joins the Soul Sisters -- Soul Warden, Soul's Attendant, Auriok Champion, and others -- but comes with some unique twists. Daxos is beefier than his bretheren, able to block like a champ if you have a decent devotion count, and he also gains life on your creature's death triggers as well. He's also an enchantment and legendary which opens up more synergy potential, though I doubt Enchantress decks or Legendary Matters decks will want him. However, only creatures you control trigger his ability, unlike Auriok Champion which triggers from your opponents' creatures too. He's also less resilient than Champion, which boasts protection from both black and red.

Overall, I'd say Daxos is certainly the weakest of the four Soul Sisters in a Lifegain deck. However, he's still a new auto-include in most Lifegain decks; the incremental lifegain trigger is exactly what you need to fuel powerful payoff cards like Well of Lost Dreams, Ajani's Pridemate, and the new Heliod, Sun-Crowned.

Most likely to see play in: Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim, Oloro, Ageless Ascetic, Licia, Sanguine Tribune, Karlov of the Ghost Council, Regna, the Redeemer & Krav, the Unredeemed, Heliod, Sun-Crowned, any Lifegain deck really.

 

Elspeth Conquers Death

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Elspeth Conquers Death is one of the best sagas for Commander ever printed, largely because its most powerful trigger, essentially a Despark, immediately happens the moment the saga enters the battlefield. Super flexible removal that also exiles (denying future recursion) is an absolute premium in this format. The following chapters are also strong effects, making the saga overall very good value and worth running by itself, even if it's a bit slow.

Being a saga, however, means you can get tons more value out of this card when building upon certain synergies. Sagas love to be bounced/blinked so you can re-use their effects, so it's great in a deck with Vedalken Mastermind or Brago, King Eternal. You can also remove counters from it to keep using previous chapters, like with Hex Parasite. You can copy the triggered chapters with Strionic Resonator. Finally, it's an enchantment, so Enchantress decks will love drawing cards off it with Mesa Enchantress and returning it to play with Replenish.

Elspeth Conquers Death is a fine inclusion in any White deck, but it's an absolute powerhouse in decks that can really take advantage of sagas. I can't wait to play with it!

Most likely to see play in: Tuvasa the Sunlit or any other Enchantress deck, Brago, King Eternal, Aminatou, the Fateshifter, Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage.

 

Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis isn't great in Commander. She's too slow, her abilities too unimpactful, for me to recommend her in any deck other than a janky Elspeth Tribal list. Escape is great and all but not when you're bringing back a lackluster card. If you want to see a great Elspeth card for Commander then look no further than Elspeth, Sun's Champion. New Elspeth doesn't quite get there.

Most likely to see play in: Elspeth Tribal? Djeru, With Eyes Open Superfriends? Bleh. 

 

Heliod, Sun-Crowned

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Please welcome one of the best Lifegain support cards ever printed: Heliod, Sun-Crowned! Now you can apply Ajani's Pridemate triggered ability to all your creatures/enchantments, and it even comes with a nice lifegain ability. All this on an indestructible enchantment that sometimes turns into a 5/5 beatstick, for the low low cost of 3cmc! This is amazing!

Heliod, Sun-Crowned also goes infinite with Walking Ballista: give Ballista lifelink, use Ballista's ability to ping an opponent and gain 1 life, Heliod triggers giving Ballista another +1/+1 counter, rinse repeat. But even without this easy infinite combo, the straight value Heliod gives to any Lifegain deck is unparalleled.

Does this mean Heliod is the best Mono White Commander? No. As great as Heliod is, he does nothing to help Mono White's greatest weakness: a severe lack of card advantage, specifically raw card draw. He's still one of the better Mono White commanders, probably in the Top 5, but the lack of card advantage makes him a less powerful option than Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle or Sram, Senior Edificer.

Heliod will shine brightest in the 99 of any Lifegain deck, where he's easily one of the best cards in the entire archetype.

Most likely to see play in: Oloro, Ageless Ascetic, Licia, Sanguine Tribune, Karlov of the Ghost Council, and literally any other multicolor Lifegain commander. He's a fine commander as well, but you lose out on some of his potential that way.

 

Heliod's Intervention

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Oh wow, what's this? A new goodstuff staple in White? Heliod's Intervention sure looks like a card that will see tons of play! There's always plenty of good artifact/enchantment targets to blow up in your typical Commander game, which means this card will reliably rack up plenty of savage X-for-1's should you choose to include it. At X=2, Heliod's Intervention compares favorably to previous go-to's Return to Dust and Crush Contraband, losing the ability to exile but being far more flexible than the previous two options. Later on, being able to wipe out all of your opponents' enchantments/artifacts at instant speed is just backbreaking, clearing your path to victory.

Heliod's Intervention is strong enough that I'm confident calling this one as White's best new asymmetrical mass Disenchant. It should see a lot of play in a lot of decks.

While it will almost never be cast for its second option, the lifegain is a nice flexibility. Lategame you just might need some life to survive an attack or lifedrain spell, and that's when cashing this in for 10+ life is perfectly reasonable at instant speed.

Side rant: I'm still waiting on a single target instant speed Disenchant to dethrone the classic option. It bugs me that, as usual, Green is the clear winner with Nature's Claim being a half-priced Disenchant, and even having a strictly better option to the classic with Return to Nature. Give us a White Nature's Claim, WOTC.

Most likely to see play in: Literally any White deck. It's a generic goodstuff staple.

 

Heliod's Punishment

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Heliod's Punishment has very similar uses to Darksteel Mutation: both are cheap ways to turn a threatening creature into a nonthreat. They're especially powerful tools against commanders, since unlike most removal, these auras do not force the commander into a different zone so they can't go back to the command zone and be recast. It's a great way to shut off particularly sneaky commanders that circumvent the commander tax like Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow, or still get value in the command zone like Edgar Markov.

Of the two, Darksteel Mutation is built to last, staying on until destroyed/bounced. Giving the creature indestructible is actually an advantage when used against commanders since it's that much harder to finally kill the commander and return it to the command zone. On the other hand, Heliod's Punishment is temporary, lasting only four turns, then the creature is free again. However, four turns is a long time in Commander, and you're bound to have gotten your value's worth with this 2cmc card by then. Also unlike Mutation, creatures enchanted by Punishment can't block, so you're free to attack past the punished creature.

I think about auras are excellent options, particularly in Aura and Enchantress decks where you can play upon additional deck synergies. I think Mutation is still better, but in the right deck I'd run both.

Most likely to see play in: Any Aura decks and some Enchantress decks. Sram, Senior Edificer, Bruna, Light of Alabaster, Siona, Captain of the Pyleas, Tiana, Ship's Caretaker, Kestia, the Cultivator

 

Reverent Hoplite

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Reverent Hoplite generates just the right amount of tokens for its converted mana cost, fitting perfectly between Springjack Shepherd at 4cmc and Evangel of Heliod at 6cmc. Generating three tokens for five mana ain't great, but in a Mono White or White-heavy deck you can reasonably expect generating 6+ tokens without much effort. The tokens are Humans and Soldiers as well, so you could jam this card into a casual Darien, King of Kjeldor Soldier Tribal deck.

I think all three cards are excellent inclusions in a casual Mono White brew like Linden, the Steadfast Queen or either Heliod, God of the Sun] / Heliod, Sun-Crowned. Generate tons of tokens, pump them up with cards like Spear of Heliod and True Conviction, then swing for lethal! Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Most likely to see play in: White Soldier / Go Wide decks like Linden, the Steadfast Queen, Darien, King of Kjeldor, Odric, Lunarch Marshal.

 

Karametra's Blessing

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Karametra's Blessing is a godsend for any aura-heavy deck trying to avoid being X-for-1'd by having their enchanted creature and all the auras enchanting it destroyed by a removal / bounce spell. This mini Heroic Intervention protects your creature from most forms of removal, and only requiring to hold one mana up is what makes this card viable and reliable. This is an auto-include in any white aura-heavy strategy.

Karametra's Blessing also protects enchantment creatures, like the gods (Heliod, the Sun-Crowned) and other random creatures (Courser of Kruphix), which is a nice plus, but if I'm running Blessing it's because I'm looking to load up a creature with auras and I don't want to be blown out by an X-for-1.

Most likely to see play in: Sram, Senior Edificer, Bruna, Light of Alabaster, Siona, Captain of the Pyleas, Tiana, Ship's Caretaker, Kestia, the Cultivator, any Aura deck. 

 

Shatter the Sky

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

While Standard and Pioneer players are eagerly awaiting Shatter the Sky, it's less exciting in Commander since we have many better options available. In multiplayer this is almost a worse Day of Judgment since, in a typical 4 Player Free For All game of Commander, you're potentially drawing up to one card while your opponents are collectively drawing up to three. Having your opponents draw more cards than you isn't a winning strategy. In a typical White deck, if I'm looking for unconditional board wipes I'd be reaching for Wrath of God, Day of Judgment, Austere Command, Fumigate, and others before I consider adding Shatter the Sky.

However, there are a few decks that I'd consider running this board wipe: Voltron decks where I'll reliably casting this with an indestructible fatty on the battlefield. A notable example is Zurgo Helmsmasher, where your commander is always indestructible when you're casting board wipes and is also big enough that you're always drawing a card off it. Zurgo LOVES board wipes since it clears the board of all opposing creatures while not affecting your own board state, and Shatter the Sky seems like an excellent wipe #4-5ish to the deck.

Most likely to see play in: Zurgo Helmsmasher, Anya, Merciless Angel, and other Voltron decks.

 

Taranika, Akroan Veteran

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

As much as Taranika will rock in Limited, there ain't much to like here for Commander. She doesn't do anything by herself, she buffs a weenie when attacking, and that's about it. She's not even a good fit in Odric, Lunarch Marshal decks since you can't use Odric to spread her indestructible attack trigger.

The most interesting thing about Taranika is that she untaps a creature. This might be good enough to consider running in decks with powerful tap abilities, like Captain Sisay and Selvala, Explorer Returned.

Most likely to see play in: Captain Sisay, Selvala, Explorer Returned.

 

Transcendent Envoy

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

White has a running theme of these aura/enchantment discount creatures at this point, with Transcendent Envoy taking a spot beside Hero of Iroas, Danitha Capashen, Paragon, and the more flexible Starfield Mystic (Herald of the Pantheon does the same in Green). They're all powerful and welcome ramp additions in a color that sorely needs them.

Having one or two of these aura discount creatures on the battlefield can really let an Aura deck go off. For my personal Sram, Senior Edificer deck, my deck's goal is to put down Sram, put down one of these discount dorks, and then start chaining together as many auras as possible, casting Angelic Gift into Chosen by Heliod into Arrest into All That Glitters and so on. The more auras you can cast in a turn, the more cards you draw, and the more of a discount you're getting off these aura discount dorks. It's not uncommon to save three mana a turn (or more!) off a Hero of Iroas once the deck is doing its thing.

Transcendent Envoy is definitely just as good as the other aura discount dorks. It doesn't wear auras as well as Hero of Iroas or Danitha Capashen, Paragon, nor is it as flexible as Starfield Mystic, but it's an enchantment itself which means it feeds into the deck's synergies like triggering constellation (Archon of Sun's Grace). I'm happy to run all four in my Sram deck, and if we have to start being picky then the Envoy is one of the better ones (I'd cut Danitha first since she's 3cmc and I rarely suit her up).

Most likely to see play in: Sram, Senior Edificer, Bruna, Light of Alabaster, Siona, Captain of the Pyleas, Tiana, Ship's Caretaker, Kestia, the Cultivator, any Aura deck. 

 

Victory's Envoy

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Victory's Envoy has a neat effect but it's just too slow for me to be excited about it at 5cmc. It could seem enticing at first, but you're only getting value from this card on your next upkeep, and you really need it to stick around for 4+ turns before its effect starts becoming worth the cost. White has plenty of better ways to pump your creatures, even with +1/+1 counters such as Cathars' Crusade, Collective Effort, and in specific decks Archangel of Thune / Metallic Mimic works too. Heck, even Ajani Steadfast starts pumping your team immediately for a lower mana cost. Pass.

Most likely to see play in: maybe a White Go Wide deck like Atraxa, Praetor's Voice or Daghatar the Adamant, but I wouldn't recommend it.

 

BLUE

 

Ashiok's Erasure

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Ashiok's Erasure is basically a Counterspell in enchantment form, which I think is really cool. Generally speaking I don't recommend countermagic that costs 4 cmc, especially ones that give the spell back to the owner after its destroyed, so I wouldn't recommend running this card in a vacuum as a generic answer. However, there's a lot of weirdness here that allows us to build around it and make it more appealing through synergies.

It exiles spells instead of countering them, so you can respond to uncounterable spells like Niv-Mizzet, Parun. That's neat. But more neat is that it's an enchantment, so Enchantress decks might want to run it as a thematic counterspell, fetching it with Idyllic Tutor, maybe getting it back with Crystal Chimes. Also with the way its worded, if you remove Ashiok's Erasure from the battlefield before its enter the battlefield trigger resolves then the spell is exiled permanently! Vedalken Mastermind keeps getting better and better! I swear this lil' creature is so good and y'all are still sleeping on it!

Anyhoo, Ashiok's Erasure is neat. It's not great, but it certain decks it's pretty deece, and I just like it. I'd run it in a few Enchantress decks like Tuvasa the Sunlit and as a donate target for Zedruu the Greathearted.

BTW it should've been a White card.

Most likely to see play in: Tuvasa, the Sunlit and any other Enchantress deck, Zedruu the Greathearted.

 

Callaphe, Beloved of the Sea

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Our blue demigod, Callaphe, doesn't seem interesting in Commander. Her power can get quite high so she hits hard, and blue is the best color for evasion (pair her with the god she champions, Thassa, God of the Sea), but her protection ability is a bit weak. Taxing opponents one extra mana is mildly annoying but the protection is far weaker than alternatives like Kira, Great Glass-Spinner or Greater Auramancy; heck even Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor is a two mana tax.

Overall, Callpahe is okay. I might even run her in very specific budget brews, but generally speaking I can't think of any deck I'd actually slot her into right now.

Most likely to see play in: Mono Blue Devotion like Thassa, God of the Sea. Not recommended, however.

 

Kiora Bests the Sea God

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Kiora Bests the Sea God is a big, splashy saga that has the potential to do work in some niche decks. By itself, this 7cmc spell has a tough time standing up to the classic top-end Blue finishers like Blatant Thievery, but since it's a saga there's a lot of neat little synergies we can take advantage of. Since it's a permanent, we can blink it for value with cards like Aminatou, the Fateshifter and Brago, King Eternal, resetting the lore counters to 1 and making more krakens. We can have fun with the tokens with cards like Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer to turn all our tokens into 8/8's. We can also remove the tokens repeteadly to get infinite value with cards like Chisei, Heart of Oceans and Power Conduit.

This saga isn't the strongest top-end Blue card available, but it's still quite strong and has tons of synergy potential. Plus, I have a feeling that this card probably won't do much in most constructed formats, so it might be a nice $1-$2 card for us Commander players looking for a solid budget top-end card.

Most likely to see play in: Aminatou, the Fateshifter, Brago, King Eternal, Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer, Chisei, Heart of Oceans, Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle (Sea Monsters).

 

Medomai's Prophecy

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Medomai's Prophecy isn't a good card in Commander. It's too slow, with its first chapter ability being meh, and you need to wait two turns until you get something good (card draw). I only bring this saga up because I'm brewing a Daxos of Meletis deck and I'm desperate enough for additional copies of Lantern of Insight that I'm willing to run this terrible version. Curse you, Field of Dreams, for being on the reserved list!

Most likely to see play in: Daxos of Meletis maaaaybe.

 

Nadir Kraken

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

First off: flavor-wise this card is just super duper cool and I love it!

Okay, let's talk about card mechanics. Nadir Kraken is very similar to Chasm Skulker: both 3cmc blue creatures that grow with +1/+1 counters and make tokens when you draw cards. The difference here is that Skulker only gives you the tokens once it dies, while the Kraken generates the tokens as you're drawing cards, but you gotta pay 1 mana each time. Since mana is often the bottleneck of how many cool things you can do per turn, I'd say Skulker is far better in most decks that draw tons of cards, like the Wheel decks that Skulker is often popular in. The Locust God is much happier growing the Skulker with seven +1/+1 counters with a three mana Wheel of Fortune than having to pay an additional seven mana to grow Nadir Kraken.

However, Nadir Kraken does have some interesting synergies that make it superior in specific situations. One of the best examples is in an Ephara, God of the Polis deck, where you can draw a card off Ephara and pay 1 to make a token, then next turn draw a card off Ephara from the token you made last turn, rinse repeat. Nadir Kraken is one of the best new Ephara cards in a long time!

Most likely to see play in: Ephara, God of the Polis.

 

Naiad of Hidden Coves

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Rejoice, fellow Draw Go lovers, for we are getting some serious goodies in this set, starting with this sexy nymph! Decks that regularly play their spells on the opponents' turns, be it Spellslinger Control lists like Talrand, Sky Summoner and Jori En, Ruin Diver, or Flash Creatures with Ephara, God of the Polis, or silly nonsense like Rashmi, Eternities Crafter, will all enjoy Naiad of the Hidden Coves. As long as you're getting a net discount of 2 mana each turn cycle, it's worth running this 3cmc creature that is vulnerable to removal.

Most likely to see play in: Draw Go decks like Talrand, Sky Summoner, Jori En, Ruin Diver, Ephara, God of the Polis, and Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage.

 

Sage of Mysteries

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Sage of Mysteries is a combo card. If you can get enchantments entering the battlefield infinite times then Sage of Mysteries can mill everyone out. Essentially it's a more niche Altar of the Brood but you can also mill yourself to win with Thassa's Oracle or whatever. I'm not sure how best to abuse the Sage, or if it's even worth doing, but it's something to think about. You can do the Enchanted Evening + Archon of Justice thing for infinite tokens and infinite mill, but even that isn't an immediate win and you need an instant-speed removal to stop the combo from ending in a draw.

Most likely to see play in: I dunno.

 

Serpent of Yawning Depths

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Sea Monster Tribal just got another snack! Serpent of Yawning Depths is a beefy 6/6 for 6cmc which is about the norm for this tribe, which ain't great when trying to craft a normal mana curve but what can ya do. The cool thing here is that it makes your sea monsters unblockable, which is great since our thicc bois need that evasion to be proper scary! Sure, your opponents can theoretically block with sea monsters of their own, but what are the odds that there's two people crazy enough to play with sea monsters at the same table? And if there are then there's probably an unspoken alliance there, a brotherhood, or uhh oceanhood? Anyhoo, Serpent of Yawning Depths isn't insane or anything but it's a solid player in Sea Monster Tribal which isn't an insane tribe. It's fun! Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle is my go-to Sea Monster commander, but Thassa, God of the Sea works great too!

Most likely to see play in: Sea Monster Tribal such as Thassa, God of the Sea and Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle.

 

Stinging Lionfish

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Funny enough, Stinging Lionfish is actually better ramp than Naiad of Hidden Coves for the exact same deck! In a Draw Go deck with nonland ramp cards, be it Kiora's Follower or a Gilded Lotus, Lionfish can untap your ramp once each turn for even more mana. You can do other neat things with it too of course, like tap down your opponents stuff, or get inspired triggers with Arbiter of the Ideal, or maybe tap your Winter Orb the turn before yours so all your lands untap ... and hope the Commander Clash crew doesn't read these reviews ...

Stinging Lionfish is great. I'd recommend it in just about any Draw Go deck. Super flexible, super useful, great at 2cmc.

Most likely to see play in: Talrand, Sky Summoner, Jori En, Ruin Diver, Ephara, God of the Polis, Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage, any Draw Go deck.

 

Thassa, Deep-Dwelling

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Take Conjurer's Closet, an artifact that sees a good amount of play in Blink decks. I personally found it to be mediocre, kinda slow, a bit too expensive. Okay, but now it costs 4cmc instead of 5cmc? I'm interested. Add indestructible to it and yeah I definitely want to play it in every single Blink deck. Then add fact that it's sometimes a whopping 6/5 beatstick, oh and it comes with a useful mana sink? WOW!

Yeah, Thassa, Deep-Dwelling is a nutty card. Absolute insta-staple in all your Blink decks. All the best Blink commanders are blue, most notably Yarok, the Desecrated, Brago, King Eternal, Chulane, Teller of Tales, etc. So all the best Blink decks can run Thassa in the 99 no problemo. Thassa is also a mighty fine commander herself, too! Plenty of sweet Blink action just in blue, the home to the mighty Mulldrifter. As a commander, Thassa has a very high power floor since she has a lowish cmc and is incredibly difficult to remove. Her power ceiling isn't too high though since her blink ability is tied to your end step, which is difficult to abuse/combo off of. That makes her a very fair commander that thrives in removal-heavy environments. Or run her in the 99! Both works. Thassa is awesome!

Another neat trick most people overlook with Conjurer's Closet / Thassa, Deep-Dwelling is that the exiled creature returns under your control, not the owner's control. This means if you steal a creature temporarily with a Threaten effect, then blink it, it's under your control permanently! Lots of sweet shenanigans with this ability! Just in Blue alone you can steal something with Vedalken Shackles, blink it, then steal something else! Your opponents will hate you but it's worth it!

Most likely to see play in: as the commander or 99 of Yarok, the Desecrated, Brago, King Eternal, Chulane, Teller of Tales, or any other Blue Blink deck. Also Threaten decks like Yasova Dragonclaw.

 

Thassa's Intervention

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Thassa's Intervention is a neat card. It's kinda clunky since at minimum it's an overpriced Quench or a meh Inspiration, but the flexibility is nice here. However, since the card doesn't scale up in value that well -- you're either just countering a spell or just getting two cards even if you get to dig more -- it doesn't inspire me like some of the better Interventions like Heliod's Intervention. If I want instant speed X card draw then I'd rather run Blue Sun's Zenith, Stroke of Genius, or Pull from Tomorrow, and if I wanted countermagic I'd just run better countermagic. Thassa's Intervention has flexibility, true, but the flexibility isn't strong enough to make two mediocre options good.

Most likely to see play in: any Blue Draw-Go list like Talrand, Sky Summoner. Not recommended.

 

Thassa's Oracle

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Speaking of amazing Thassas: Thassa's Oracle is bonkers! While it doesn't draw any cards, the Oracle's ETB trigger lets you dig through the top of your library for the card you need the most, making it an excellent source of card selection in any Mono Blue or Blue-heavy list. Since it's an ETB trigger, a Blue Blink deck like, oh, I dunno, Thassa, Deep-Dwelling, is a perfect and obvious home for the Oracle.

But wait, there's more! At the end of that giant pile of text, it says that if X is equal to or greater than the number of cards in your library, you win the game! The easiest way to win this way is to remove all cards from your library, either by drawing all the cards (Blue Sun's Zenith), milling them (Altar of Dementia), or exiling them (Demonic Consultation). Once there's zero cards in your library, simply play Oracle and BAM, you win! Even if your opponents kill Thassa's Oracle before its trigger resolves, you still win, so the only way to stop this is with countermagic or a Stifle effect. 

So Thassa's Oracle has a "you win" ability the same as Laboratory Maniac / Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, but is harder to stop, lower cmc, AND is valuable even if you aren't winning the game with it! THAT'S INSANE! THIS IS AN INSANE CARD!

Most likely to see play in: any Blue Blink deck like Thassa, Deep-Dwelling, Inalla, Archmage Ritualist, and every single CEDH deck from now on until bans / further power creep happens.

 

Thryx, the Sudden Storm

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The moment Thryx, the Sudden Storm was previewed I started getting messaged with, "so Tomer, when are you going to make 5 CMC Tribal with this?" The answer is: soon!

Memes aside, Thryx is a solid inclusion in any High CMC Matters decks such as Jodah, Archamage Eternal and Golos, Tireless Pilgrim. These decks are packed with huge cmc spells and plenty of ways to cast them for less than their cmc, such as using Fist of Suns or adding discounts to them (Dig Through Time). Thryx, the Sudden Storm not only gives these spells a further discount, but makes them uncounterable too! Not bad!

Most likely to see play in: Jodah, Archmage Eternal, Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, 5 CMC Tribal.

 

Wavebreak Hippocamp

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Wow! Here we go: the best new blue card of them all for Draw Go! This 3cmc creature nets us a card for the first spell we cast on each opponents turn; in a typical 4 Player FFA game that's up to 3 cards drawn each turn cycle! Suck on that, Phyrexian Arena! Talrand, Sky Summoner, Rashmi, Eternities Crafter, Vial Smasher the Fierce, all these decks and more will LOVE this horse fish! 

Most likely to see play in: Talrand, Sky Summoner, Jori En, Ruin Diver, Ephara, God of the Polis, Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage, any Draw Go deck.

 

Whirlwind Denial

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I must shamefully admit that when I first saw Whirlwind Denial, I quickly dismissed it as yet another blah Cancel with minor upside. It was only after other people pointed out to me that not only does Whirlwind Denial counter all spells, but also all abilities your opponents control, that it finally made sense to me why Whirlwind Denial is so so good! There's plenty of times when a mass of triggers go on the stack: perhaps the board is getting wiped and Omnath, Locus of Rage & his Elemental entourage are about to voice their displeasure via bolts at your face. Or perhaps there's a 50 damage Aetherflux Reservoir trigger about to do you in. Or maybe somebody stormed off and you're facing 50 copies of Grape Shot. Whatever the situation, Whirlwind Denial has got you covered.

That's a ton of flexibility in a countermagic. Yes, Whirlwind Denial is a bit more expensive than the usual countermagic I advocate running, but the flexibility is huge, and 3cmc isn't insane. It's even quite splashable! Really, really solid card here, folks.

Most likely to see play in: any Blue deck, but especially Draw Go decks that can reliably keep up three mana.

 

Part 2 Next: Black, Red

We're off to an incredible start! Us Commander players are definitely spoiled silly with this new set. Please let me know what you think of the changes in this review article! I'm off to write the rest now; thanks for reading!


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